Does your family have weekly family meetings?   If not, I recommend that you start to have them!  Although, be honest, when you hear the two words “Family Meeting” what comes to mind?  For most of my clients, this means something bad is on the horizon.  When I bring up family meetings, in family counseling, I’m told that family meetings are meant for….

  • Someone’s in trouble
  • Parents are separating / divorcing
  • Family is moving
  • A parent lost their job
  • A family member died
  • ETC.

Why do we always have the negative image of family meetings?   Hopefully, after reading this, you’ll change your opinion about family meetings and give them a try.  Regularly scheduled family meetings can be a great way to open communication among household members, set family goals, problem solve and enjoy time together.

Defining family meetings:
A family meeting, is time set aside to promote communication, and provide the family with encouragement, problem solving and decision making opportunities.   Family meetings can be formal and structured or flexible and informal. Lastly, all house hold members equal contribution to the meeting regardless of their age.

Guidelines for family meetings:

  • Establish a regular, reoccurring meeting time each week.
  • Establish time limits. For children, 15-20 minutes is a good time frame.
  • Allow all house hold members to offer suggestions, topics or ideas. If they weren’t addressed at the meeting, they should get brought up the following meetings.
  • Follow through on decisions or agreements.
  • Establish rules (everyone gets a chance to speak, no electronics (music, phone, TV, etc), no name calling or put downs.
  • If nothing is on the agenda, include fun activities such as telling jokes, sharing stories, etc.

Suggestions for family meeting topics: 

  • Celebrating, or bringing attention to any awards, promotions or big events that week.
  • Allowance distribution
  • Chore Assignments
  • Planning family fun night
  • Joke of the week (can rotate through household members each week)
  • Sibling conflicts
  • Family goals
  • How school or work is going
  • Minute to Win it Games
Some good websites to check out on family meetings:

Alright, now it’s your chance to have a family meeting!  Let me know how your first family meeting goes, and if you have other suggestions!

Have fun!


Jennie Wilson is a child and adolescent therapist. She holds the credentials of a Licensed Professional Counselor, National Certified Counselor and a Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor